How to Write a Business Apology

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Every business or businessperson occasionally needs to write an apology letter. From a missed order, to an overlooked phone message, to missing a meeting due to an emergency, times for apologies arise. The right apology letter not only expresses regret, but can actually tell your customer quite a bit about your level of professionalism. How you handle an apology can make the difference between keeping and losing a customer.

Things You'll Need

  • Paper
  • Computer
  • Printer
  • Envelope
  • Stamp
Yes, even you may have to write a business apology letter.
Yes, even you may have to write a business apology letter.

Step 1

Send the apology as soon as you discover that a mistake occurred. Promptness often diffuses frustration and shows that though a mistake was made, the company is still on top of things.

Promptness matters when writing apology letters.
Promptness matters when writing apology letters.

Step 2

Apologize for the exact offense and take full responsibility. If you missed an order, express regret for missing the order. If there were further consequences, like a presentation that that did not go as it should due to materials that did not arrive, include that in the apology as well.

Admit the exact nature of the mistake.
Admit the exact nature of the mistake.

Step 3

Explain extenuating circumstances. If a new employee missed something, say so. If a travel delay or family emergency occurred, be sure to communicate it. Be brief and to the point so your apology does not sound like you are making up excuses.

Explain what happened with no excuses.
Explain what happened with no excuses.

Step 4

If you can, offer a discount or other incentive to keep the customer's goodwill. Most people understand that mistakes are made. Incentives sometimes soften the inconvenience the mistake may have caused.

Giving money back with the apology softens frustration.
Giving money back with the apology softens frustration.

Step 5

Inform the customer what steps have been taken to ensure the mistake will not be repeated.

Tell the customer what steps you have taken to avoid similar mistakes.
Tell the customer what steps you have taken to avoid similar mistakes.

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